The Nigerian childhood period is the most enjoyable period in one’s life- no worries about what to eat and wear. You have your needs met and also lived an innocent life. One of the things that also made this period interesting and memorable are the games being played. In this piece, I have highlighted 8 games that were often played by Nigerian kids in school especially in the 80s.
- Who is in the garden?
It’s one of the first games that will come to a child’s heart in the 80s, most especially during the holidays. The participants form a circle by holding hands and a child is within the circle and another child outside the circle. The child outside the circle then then asks:
Child outside the circle: Who is in the garden?
Participants: A little fine boy/ girl
Child outside the circle: Can I come and see him/ her?
Participants: No! No!! No! No!!
Child outside the circle: Follow me little boy/ girl
At this point, the child outside the circle touches anyone he/ she desires. Then, it’s either the child picked then tries to gain access into the circle or the child in the circle tries to break free and catch the child being picked.
- T.O.P Stop!
The participants draw a circle on the ground and divides it into 4 to 8 pies. Each of the kids then name the pie with their favorite names. The game goes thus:
After getting a pie (house), a referee is chosen and stands in an inner circle drawn in the middle of the bigger circle. The referee then gives the command S.T.O.P stop! Once S.T.O.P is pronounced, the participants must run as far as they could and stop once Stop! Is mentioned. The child in the inner circle then throws an object at the participant that is closer to him or her. Once this is done, he/she earns a point and the person the object was thrown at gets in the inner circle. The game continues in this manner until a winner emerges.
- Police and Thief
In this game, a group of kids “Police” chases another group of kids “Thieves.” The game starts with the selection of the member of the police and thief squads. This is done by reciting A-Z, whosoever fall on letter P belongs to the police squad while those that fall on T belong to the thief squad.
The police squad chases and jails the thieves until all the thieves are captured. The thieves can also escape, this makes the game more interesting.
This game starts by drawing a big rectangle on the floor. The rectangle is then drawn into rectangular boxes which can range between 6 to 12 boxes. There are equal amount of boxes on the two sides. Each of the participants then throws a seed into each box according to the number. The number is based on the total number of boxes on each side.
The players then jump over each boxes as the game continues. This implies that a player must jump on box 1 and hop on one leg over the other boxes without stepping on the demarcating lines. If these lines are stepped on, such person will be disqualified. The participants will be jumping over the boxes as the number proceeds. At the end of the each round, the participant backs the big rectangle and throws the seed in their hand. If it falls in the desired box, such box becomes theirs. The players can do anything in the box while hopping since it is theirs. However, to avoid being disqualified, the players must not cross the lines of the box they bought.
- Hide and seek
In this game, a child would be selected to close his/her eyes and count to 10. At the end of each counting, he/she is to find out where the members are hiding. Anyone he/she fishes out will take his/her place, and the game continues in that manner.
- After Round 1 (scissors)
A group of players pick a number and then signify a particular with the fingers of one hand. All fingers will then be counted to arrive at a number. If the number being arrived at was chosen by any of the players, then that player wins. The game continues until the last player is left without an opponent. The last player is the looser. The other players then punish him/her by beating the back of his/ her palm until the looser could weave their hands from hitting his/her palm.
- Bread & Butter
Two team leaders are chosen and named Bread and Butter. These leaders raise their hands and clap to a rhyme as the other participants take turns passing under their hands as the rhyme is being recited. The rhyme goes thus (in Yoruba language):
“Bread and butter,
Ma jo gbono,
Ma jo tutu,
Once the rhyme ends, the kid standing under their raised hands is then asked a question which goes thus:
“Omodeyi ki lo mu?” Which means “You this child, what would you pick?”
The child then chooses between bread and butter and would go behind the representative of his/ her choice. When the last player must have made his/ her choice, a thug is next. The group that wins the thug emerges the winner of the game.
- Street soccer
This is a football match between houses on a street or matches between different streets. The team can either comprise of less than eleven players or the standard eleven player team. The cup to be awarded to the winner is made up of a new or old bulb, a tin milk, about two to three packs of cigarettes and a bottle of glue.
A hole is then bored in the tin to hold the bulb. The bulb is then covered with the inner glittering of the cigarette using the glue.
Do you have any of your favorite games that was not mentioned in this article? Let’s have your contribution in the comment section below.